Sharp Corp. doubled its loss estimate for the year just ended on a slump in sales of its TVs and panels, but it brought forward plans for a cost-efficient new factory to cut costs. Sharp now expects an operating loss of 60 billion yen (approx. US$601 million)-- its first-ever annual operating loss and double its estimate in February.
The company also said it would shift overseas some output of key components such as panels and solar cells with local partners to lessen the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations and rein in capital spending.
Sharp said panel demand was recovering, prompting it to move up its start-date for production at its new plant by five months to October. "Getting the world's most cost-competitive factory onstream as quickly as we can will be a powerful weapon to win in this tough climate," said Sharp president Mikio Katayama.
Sharp's 380 billion yen (approx. $3.8 billion) plant in western Japan will process 10th-generation glass substrates, which are bigger than earlier-generation substrates and help reduce per-panel production costs.
The new LCD plant would have an initial capacity to handle 36,000 glass substrates a month, which will eventually be doubled to 72,000 units.
Sharp is also building a new solar cell plant in Japan. The new plant, which is designed to make thin-film solar cells, is scheduled to start output by March 2010.
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